July 26, 2012

Dyslexic boys sail off just to get a normal education

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:20 pm

Two brothers, Enrique (15) and Hugo (13), both said to be highly intelligent and very dyslexic, have been denied education for more than a year (two years for Enrique) because local schools are unable to provide them with a suitable, adapted education. However, they are required to go to school until the age of 18, and home schooling is forbidden in the Netherlands, so staying home is illegal, but no school will have them. According to television show EenVandaag, some 16,000 children (!) are not attending school because there’s no adapted education for them, something the government keeps cutting down on.

Their mom explains that they had to work hard to read as good as the rest of the class in secondary school, but they couldn’t take proper notes, even legible ones. However, they understand better than the rest everything they are being taught and are being held back because they are dyslexic.

Remember Laura Dekker, the sailor girl who was allowed to circumnavigate the globe for a year? Well, she was allowed adapted education from the World School, so the brothers are going to do the same thing to force the government to give them an education. They are going to pull a ‘Laura Dekker’: they’re going to sail for a year and do their homework. Oh, and they are totally going to hit up children rights’ groups abroad to plead their cause and point fingers at the Ministry of Education. Their dad is a sailor and will follow them around by boat as well as help with their homework.

(Link: www.eenvandaag.nl, Photo of a sailboat by the US Navy)

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June 10, 2012

Three kids from Utrecht under supervision for being too fat

Filed under: Dutch first,Health by Branko Collin @ 11:42 am

Child protection services has placed three children from the same family in Utrecht, ranging from 6 to 13 years old, under the supervision of a guardian for being dangerously overweight, De Telegraaf writes.

The children weighed 15, 18 and 51 kilograms too much in November 2011. The parents fought the services’ decision in court, but in a decision published in May, an judge in Arnhem found against the parents. The court felt that although it was obvious that the parents cared about their children, they lacked both the drive and the skills to deal with their children’s bad health.

According to Dutchnews.nl, “this is the thought to be the first time children in the Netherlands have been subject to a court order because of their weight”. NRC writes that in the UK, dozens of children have been placed under supervision since 2006 for being obese. Child protection services told the newspaper that they will only place children under supervision “if the parents refuse voluntary help and the problems are such that the development of the child is halted or endangered.”

Supervision means that although the children will generally get to stay with their parents, the supervisor must be consulted for all major decisions regarding the children, and orders given by the supervisor must be followed.

A high profile supervision was the 2009 case of then 13-year-old Laura Dekker who wanted to sail around the world by herself. The intent then was to determine whether Dekker was fit to sail the world by herself, although in hindsight the effect mainly seems to have been to instill a severe dislike for Dutch bureaucracy in the teen sailor.

(Photo by Quinn Dombrowski, some rights reserved)

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August 4, 2010

Solo sailing girl off to sail around the world

Filed under: General,Sports by Orangemaster @ 10:13 am

It sounds a lot like a soap opera: daddy was all for it, mommy was too, then she changed her mind. Lawyers got involved, child services got involved and stalled last year’s plans, and then the girl ‘threatened’ to emigrate.

Then, the Dutch public had their opinion, which ranged from ‘let the girl do her thing, you only live once’ to ‘what kind of horrible parents lets a teenager sail alone it’s dangerous’, as if the parents couldn’t vouch for their daughter’s talent. I couldn’t resist mentioning that Mike Perham and Zac Sunderland, both boys, were encouraged for their feats and wondering if Laura Dekker was a boy would that have made a difference.

And to ward off future criticism, if and when Laura Dekker does become the youngest person to sail around the world solo, all the Dutch, including the ones with the forked tongues will be all thrilled that she did it after all. If she crashes and burns, I’ll let you go all out in the comments, but for now, let’s see what happens first and comment later.

(Link: dutchnews.nl, photo of an entirely unrelated boat by the US Navy)

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August 12, 2009

Teenager attempts sailing solo around the world record

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 8:51 am

Laura Dekker, 13 years old, is planning to attempt to sail around the world solo between 2009 and 2011, Algemeen Dagblad reports (Dutch). The current record is held by Zac Sunderland of the USA who finished his journey at age 17.

Dekker’s plan has drawn comments from naysayers who feel she is too young, should be in school, and who think her parents are irresponsible. Her response to these comments is one of indifference: “To be honest, I had expected the comments to be even worse. People do not know what they are talking about, so I won’t let it get to me.”

Preparations are going well, according to Dekker’s website. She will be sailing a Hurley 800, a boat made in Twente, and she will send and receive her high school homework using e-mail (she is still looking for a satellite phone, though). Dekker hopes to set sail this September.

(Photo of an entirely unrelated boat by the US Navy.)

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